Circuit Breaker Repair in Los Angeles, CA

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A circuit breaker is a device that cuts off power if the current is too high. In the past, home electrical systems used fuses that would blow if there was an overload. Today, a circuit breaker panel consists of multiple breakers, each serving a different circuit. A breaker can be reset rather than replaced when it trips. Without this protection, electrical overloads could short out or melt electrical wiring, devices, and appliances. The consequences range from expensive damage to potentially deadly fires.

Once electricity enters your home from the power distribution grid, it enters a circuit where there’s a hot wire, connected to the outside energy source, and neutral wire that connects to a neutral source. Although electricity is delivered at a consistent voltage, your light bulbs, appliances, and other electrical devices cause resistance. It’s what enables them to work, but appliances are built so that current is kept below dangerous thresholds, although this isn’t always the case

That’s why homes have circuit breakers, which cut off the circuit when current exceeds safe levels.

How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?

An overload can be corrected by redistributing the load, or by plugging devices into another circuit. However, you don’t have this luxury while an overload is happening. A circuit breaker acts immediately so an unsafe current doesn’t lead to trouble.

Essentially a type of switch, the breaker is connected on both sides by the hot wire to an electromagnet. Electricity that flows through the wire, moving contact, stationary contact, and upper terminal magnetizes the electromagnet. Strong currents cause it to magnetize and pull down a metal lever. This causes the entire linkage to shift and the switch to move the contacts apart, breaking the circuit and cutting off electricity.

Other circuit breaker types have a bimetallic strip instead of an electromagnet. A thin strip of metal is bent by excessive current. Another type contains an explosive material, which when set off by high current, drives a piston to trigger the switch. Advanced designs monitor current and shut down the circuit electronically. A ground fault circuit interrupter is a newer type of breaker specifically designed to prevent electrical shocks, opening the circuit as soon as a current imbalance is detected.

Repairing a Circuit Breaker

Many customers ask about how to repair a circuit breaker. There’s no clear answer because the only way to deal with a faulty breaker is to replace it. This must be done carefully or else you could be burned, shocked, or electrocuted. The breaker replacing the old one must be the same size and voltage, and the power must be turned off, preferably at the main circuit switch. The power will be off throughout your home while repairs are being made.

To replace a breaker, an electrician will loosen the terminal screw to free the breaker’s wires. Exposed wires can be pulled out from the terminal using a pair of needle-nose pliers with rubber insulated handles. The wires should not touch other wires or breakers. The breaker is removed by pulling up on the side so the clips pop out.

The technician will set the new breaker to the “Off” position before sliding its clips into place. The side with the terminals is pushed in first. Once the clips latch to the metal bar in the panel, the electrician will push on the opposite side to lock the breaker. They tighten the terminal screw next while using needle-nose pliers to hold the wires. Then the new breaker can be turned on.

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    FAQs

    The most common reasons for a circuit breaker to trip include:

    • Overloaded circuits
    • Short circuits
    • Ground fault surges
    • Old breakers
    • Old/damaged appliances

    Devices and appliances that use a lot of power, such as vacuum cleaners, heaters, window air conditioners, or even microwave ovens, dishwashers, coffee machines, and toasters.

    Located the tripped breaker, which is usually in a gray metal breaker panel. The tripped breaker should either have an orange or red marker or be in the OFF position. Next, turn off any appliance or light connected to that circuit and flip the switch. It should make a clicking sound or sensation. Call our Los Angeles electrician when you turn on lights or appliances and the breaker trips again.

    If a breaker trips, determine what it’s connected to. Unplug the devices on that circuit and reset the breaker; if it flops back and forth rather than clicks, the breaker should be replaced. Also replace the circuit breaker if the circuit is overloaded and it doesn’t trip, or it trips as soon as power is turned on.

    If your circuit breaker is tripping, it’s doing its job. To find out why this is happening, identify what is connected to the circuit. Turn off some appliances to see if the breaker trips again. Also look for signs of loose connections, frayed cords, or faulty electrical components.

    Find the electrical panel and specific breaker and identify what circuit it is protecting. Turn off electrical devices and flip the switch from its OFF to ON position. Plugging heavy-duty appliances into a general-purpose electric circuit may help prevent future trips.

    Yes. A circuit breaker can fail even if it doesn’t trip. Likely causes include loose connections, old breakers, and wiring problems. The problem can be difficult to troubleshoot, so it’s important to have a Los Angeles emergency electrician on site to check things out.

    It is located within a metal box, often in the basement, garage, utility room, or cupboard/hallway. Usually, this box is mounted flush against the wall and covered by a metal door. If you live in an older house, check outside if you can’t find it.

    The breaker switch trips automatically as soon as an overload is detected. All you need to do is reset it. On the other hand, fuses can be replaced with higher capacity ones, which can overload your electrical wiring if improperly rated.

    Aside from resetting a breaker switch, you’ll need to check for loose wires or signs of an overload or damaged appliance. Call our electrician in Los Angeles if there appears to be a wiring problem, the lights are flickering, or the circuit breaker is humming or sparking.

    Chances are, the proper steps weren’t followed, but too many loads plugged in may prevent it from resetting. There may a faulty appliance, too many lights on the circuit, or a short circuit. Call a professional for circuit breaker repair in Los Angeles to troubleshoot and fix the problem.